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Tefere Gebre came to the United States in 1984 as a teenager. He and four friends had left their home in war-torn Ethiopia and walked nearly 500 miles across the desert to a refugee camp in Sudan.

When it comes to appreciating educators, please heed an old expression: Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk.

President Trump's chief trade official Monday offered a modicum of optimism about the ongoing talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, even as he shot down two key Canadian proposals and blasted a recent trade action by Canada as a "massive attack on all of our trade laws."

The Donald Trump Labor Department is proposing a rule change that would mean that restaurant servers and bartenders could lose a large portion of their earnings. The rule would overturn one put in place by the Barack Obama administration initiated, which prevents workers in tipped industries from having their tips taken by their employers. Under the new rule, business owners could pay their wait staff and bartenders as little as $7.25 per hour and keep all tips above that amount without having to tell customers what happened.

Last week, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on union membership, which found that the number of union members rose by 260,000 in 2017. This reflects critical organizing victories across a range of industries, which have reaped higher wages, better benefits and a more secure future for working people around the country.

Of the report, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:

The Mexican government has filed legislation that would substantially weaken rights for working people. In response, the AFL-CIO filed a complaint alleging that Mexico is violating the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation, the NAFTA labor side deal.

Journalists at the Los Angeles Times have overwhelmingly elected to form a union, a first for the 136-year-old news organization that for much of its history was known for its opposition to organized labor.

The union drive was launched publicly in October and culminated in an election earlier this month. Results, tallied Friday by the National Labor Relations Board, show workers voted 248 to 44 to be represented by the Washington, D.C.-based NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America.

The middle class has been on a steady slide for decades. Signs of this slide are all around us: anemic wage growth, historic income inequality, chronic unemployment and underemployment and, not coincidentally, the steady erosion of workers’ freedom to join unions and bargain for fair wages and benefits. At the same time, American households are facing rising costs that far outpace their stagnant wages.

To Washington, D.C. insiders, this month’s budget negotiations are just the latest partisan exercise in a series of manufactured crises that too often result in short-term solutions. But for those who live and work outside of the Beltway bubble, much more is at stake.

What happens in the coming days has the potential to fundamentally shift the balance of power in the workplace. Nothing less than the right to dream, live, work and retire in security is on the table as Congress faces key decisions and deadlines.

Imagine this: It's Sunday morning and you walk into the church you grew up attending. You have not been to service in a few years. For most of that time, you worked the night shift as an emergency-room nurse and the occasional weekends you had off were filled with sick children, aging parents and digging out from snowstorms. But you are there now. The usher asks your name and when you answer, he frowns and says "I'm so sorry, since you haven't exercised your religious freedom in the last six years, I'll have to ask you to leave."